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Horta ,  July 16, 2019

Archipelago of the Azores classified as "Hope Spot" for conservation of Oceans

The Regional Secretary for Sea, Science and Technology stated that "it is a very important recognition for the Region to be considered as "Hope Spot," that is, a site of hope under the project developed by world-renowned biologist Sylvia Earle." In this context, he highlighted "the work of several researchers from the Okeanos Research Centre and the Azores Sea Observatory with the involvement of the Regional Government."
Gui Menezes spoke this afternoon in Horta during a press conference where the Azores were classified as "Hope Spot" of the Mission Blue Foundation - Sylvia Earle Alliance.
According to Gui Menezes, this distinction concerns "not a small portion of the Azores sea, but rather the entire maritime territory" of the archipelago.
"Hope Spots" are sites considered critical for the health of oceans. This project selects locations around the world, whose communities are supported in the promotion of actions aimed at the protection of oceans.
"It is often citizens and communities who propose certain 'hope spots' for the management of oceans in a sustainable manner and the protection of biodiversity," said the Regional Secretary.
According to the government official, this is "a way of motivating citizens and raising public awareness for the importance of oceans in our lives and the need to protect them.
Gui Menezes defended that the Azores "are, in fact, a special site that maintains some integrity in terms of biodiversity; they are also a unique site in terms of the potential for scientific discovery and knowledge" on the deep sea.
"This is another source of pride and, accordingly, we must take advantage of the visibility of the Azores in this area," stated the government official.
The Regional Secretary stressed that "the next two years will be decisive for the Azores in the area of the sea." In this regard, he noted that the Azorean Government is preparing the plans for the management of marine protected areas, “which are currently under revision.” Additionally, the maritime spatial plan is also being prepared.
According to Gui Menezes, this work "will be very important for the management of the sea-related matters, the reconciliation of various uses of the sea and for biodiversity conservation."
"We need to take a precautionary attitude in order to avoid making mistakes that others have already made," said the government official.
The Regional Secretary also highlighted Blue Azores, a project developed in partnership with the Blue Ocean Foundation and the Waitt Foundation & Institute. The memorandum of understanding was signed in February this year, securing the commitment that 15% of the Azores sea will be classified as protected areas in the coming years.
"This is a very relevant project not only for the Azores, but also for the country and the world," the government official said, noting the importance of involving schools and younger generations in ocean literacy issues.
In this context, the "Educating for Blue Generation" programme is being implemented in the Region under the "Blue Azores" programme with the support of the Azorean Government. The initiative is focused on the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources.
This programme, developed in school context, addresses eight fundamental ocean knowledge areas that comprise various subjects: literature, ecology, law, strategy, geography, economics, history, physics and chemistry. Moreover, it also provides answers to questions posed by children, such as "Why is the ocean important?” Who owns the ocean?” or "Why is the Azores Sea special?."
"We can be an example and a strong motivation for pursuing ocean conservation goals," stated the Regional Secretary.
American biologist Sylvia Earle, who has been called "Jane Goodall of the Oceans," was in Horta on occasion of the annual meeting of her project "Mission Blue Foundation - Sylvia Earle Alliance."


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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